Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) photos by Larry Jordan
The Killdeer is appropriately named Charadius vociferus because of its very vocal nature. As a matter of fact, it used to be known as the Noisy Plover by naturalists back in the 18th century. Killdeer belong to the Plover familly of shorebirds but they are not always found near the shore, although they are usually near water.
Does it look like I have eyes in the back of my head?
Killdeer are rather conspicuous not only due to their noisy calls but they may be found on mudflats, gravel bars and short grass meadows where they run across the ground in spurts and then come to a screeching halt and bob their heads. This is a great way to flush out insects and find earthworms, one of their primary foods.
I found this congregation of Killdeer along with a murder of crows (don’t you love the collective nouns used for birds) on this athletic field when I went back to Shasta College to observe my Western Kingbird family. The kingbirds had already left their nest tree, so I turned my attention to the killdeer and crows.
As I was saying, Killdeer are the most widespread plover in North America and can be found almost anywhere there are large expanses of grass like pastures, golf courses and even lawns. They were eating worms along with the crows on this particular afternoon.
One of the most conspicuous traits of the Killdeer is its "broken wing" act to lure predators away from their nest site. Here is a short video of the "broken wing" trick followed by a photo of killdeer eggs sent to me by one of my readers from Illinois. Thanks Lisa. Enjoy!
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